The main rival of Alexander Lukashenko in the upcoming presidential election, former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko was in the KGB remand prison and accused of serious economic crime — the withdrawal abroad of millions of dollars. With him arrested and his son Edward, head of the campaign headquarters of his father. While in the secret service of Belarus hinted that the matter may be involved and people from the leadership of the Russian “Gazprom”. Lukashenko himself has confined itself to statements about the masks that finally broke with the puppets and their puppeteers, alluding to foreign interference. However, apparently, the Belarusians themselves see things differently. Thousands of people took to the streets demanding the release of Babariko and one detainee informed the opponent of Lukashenko. Read more in the article “”.

Quick operation

The events surrounding Babariko began to unfold rapidly just before the completion of the stage of collection of signatures — candidates for President need to collect over 100 thousand signatures to be eligible to participate in the elections. Former Chairman of the Board of Belgazprombank managed to get more than 400 thousand.

of 426 000

signatures collected Victor Babariko for registration as a candidate for President. The electoral threshold was 100 thousand signatures

June 18, the day before the completion of receiving documents to the CEC, at the headquarters of Babariko said that he disappeared together with his son Edward. Later, the “BTRC” (ATN) spread the message that the party of the presidential race and his son are interrogated at the financial investigations Department of the state control Committee (SCC). Lawyers for him and was not allowed due to the fact that the building allegedly conducted “exercises” autochange character. At the same time the investigators came with a search warrant in the house of Babariko Mocanu in the village 15 kilometers away from Minsk. To the house came the official cars around him were on duty, armed men in masks and police uniforms.

In the end, Victor Babariko detained as a suspect in the case of “Belgazprombank”. Searches in the organization passed a week ago.

According to investigators, Babariko, 20 years led the Bank organized the criminal scheme for evasion of taxes in especially large sizes. The SCC said that the credit of the organization in the Latvian Bank ABLV in several years, was illegally withdrawn more than 430 million U.S. dollars. Lukashenko’s opponents impute the impact on witnesses and withholding evidence. Only in the case of detained more than 20 people.

Prosecutor General Aliaksandr kaniuk stated that the defendants threatened national security and against them, also a criminal case on suspicion of forming a criminal organization. As emphasized in the SCC, almost all of them cooperate with the investigation and give grateful while��used against the former head of Belgazprombank, which is considered by the organizer. His son goes on trial as an accomplice: Babariko Jr. is the founder of the fundraising platform MolaMola, and “Belgazprombank” was her calculated financial organization. Election account Babariko blocked the day before the arrest, on June 17, and June 18, seized all of his property and the property of the son.

For Babariko arrest was clearly not a surprise. He started preparing for it immediately after searches in “Belgazprombank”. “The whole logic of events suggests that this process is directed against me,” said the opponents of Lukashenka in an interview with RBC.

It’s not just a campaign of intimidation. It’s raider seizure, and the state that violates not only domestic laws but also international treaties. Do not assume such a scale and with such fear that will bring the elections on the current government – the President Babariko

To comment on the substance of criminal case he did not, on the grounds that is no longer an employee of the Bank, but stressed that even while in prison, will be able to participate in the elections. Moreover, this scenario, he thought even before his nomination. According to Babariko, according to the law can participate in elections only in the presence of a criminal record, and to hold a court before the voting day on 9 August is impossible for procedural reasons.

Obvious link

The incident has been commented on yet another opponent to Lukashenko in the election, his former assistant in the field of science and technology, the former head of the high-tech Park Valery Tsepkalo, who managed to collect more than 200 thousand signatures of voters in the district hold third place in the presidential race.

Tsepkalo also managed to be at the center of scandal during the election campaign. During one meeting, Lukashenko allowed the statement insulting to the rival and compared it with a pig. According to the President of Belarus, “from a boar, this man will be stillborn piglets, because the piglets are not as dependent on the sow”. Users of social networks noticed that an insult is unacceptable personal: Lukashenko hinted that the family Tsepkalo at the time used the method of artificial insemination.

At that time Tsepkalo did not get involved in a scandal. He gently said that he expected such behavior, and reminded voters that he wants to eradicate the “arrogance, rudeness, arrogance” in Belarusian politics. In the case of Babariko Tsepkalo also prefer to avoid sharp statements, but has unequivocally condemned the incident.

“We stand for honest, fair play, honest elections. Must be the same, honest, fair, and transparent rules,” — skahall he recalled that opposes arrests for economic crimes.

Tsepkalo also agreed that the detention of Babariko, and other possible opponents of Lukashenko, blogger Sergei Tikhanovski, consistent and planned actions.

At least it looks so. It seems that in the eyes of most of the population of Belarus it (the arrest of two opponents Lukashenko, popular — approx. “Of the”) looks like links in a chain – Valery Tsepkalo, the detention of Sergei Tikhanovski and Victor Babariko

His words are confirmed by the mass protests that accompany both arrests. According to the Telegram-channel NEXTA opposition journalist Stepan Putilo, in Minsk after the detention of Babariko gathered a human chain of protesters and cars driving by honked. Moreover, when the traffic police tried to fine one of the signals of the drivers who approached the protesters and began to clap. According to published places videos, the police at this point have done nothing.

In the same way citizens did when they drove past the paddy wagons. In the end, came to the city traffic, and traffic police blocked the road, but the citizens continued to stand along the streets and chanting “Let him go!”. And, obviously, it applied not only to Babariko Sr. and his son, but to another rival Lukashenka, who has called for political prisoners.

of 3 km

was the length of the human chain protesting against the detention of Babariko residents of Minsk. Re the protest will be held in several cities of Belarus

Blogger Sergei Tikhanovski detained may 29 in Grodno. May 15, the CEC refused to register, citing incorrect paperwork — lack of signature in the statement. Possible candidate I could not put it as serving an administrative arrest for a protest against integration with Russia. The meeting was held in December 2019, however, the detained blogger only 6 may 2020 and put under arrest for 15 days. Therefore, the elections will stand for his wife Svetlana.

Tikhanovski was released 21 may, and a week on a large-scale action in support of his wife was back in handcuffs. Witnesses then said it was a provocation: they saw some woman who suspiciously Intrusive behaved with blogger, and then called the police. After that, one policeman fell on the scene immediately came the riot police. Sergei and some of his supporters charged with violence to the police, for which “violators” threatens to six years in prison. Later blogger was charged with another obstruction of the work of the CEC.

After the events in Grodno headquarters Svetlana Tikhanovski noted that the line at the points of collection of signatures has only increased: in the same weekend her ��the team took five thousand voters. However, the increased number of detainees supporters Tikhon. So, June 9, blogger Vladimir Ciganovich (MozgON) force pulled out of the car and without explanation, taken to the police station, activists in other cities are administrative arrests.

in front of me a choice: children or further fighting. The choice is obvious. Svetlana Tikhanovski, about her coming and her family threats

The Svetlana Tikhanovski began to receive threats. When the woman handed over signatures in Gomel, she got a call from an unknown number and threatened her and the children, demanding to withdraw from the electoral race. Rival Lukashenko has recorded a video message to his supporters, asking them to take any decision in this situation and emphasized that her husband would not want to give up. Later Svetlana has informed that will not leave the presidential race, despite the threats.

Puppets and puppeteers

The next day after the detention of Babariko Alexander Lukashenko said that the Belarusian authorities have prevented the Maidan. According to him, Minsk has been watching “certain forces” are trying to implement a plan to destabilize the Republic, and they managed to get ahead thanks to the decisive actions of the security services. The head of state stressed once again that you do not pass the forces of an unnamed country.

Mask ripped off not only with certain dolls that we had here, but the puppeteers who sit outside Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko, about the case of Belgazprombank, and probable foreign interference in elections

“Puppet” metaphor in this case sounds for the second time. For the first time it was used in day of detention of Babariko the head of the state control Committee Ivan Tertel. He suggested that “the puppeteers behind his activities,” may fear that in the hands of the Belarusian special services will be evidence linking them to criminal activities, which involved “Belgazprombank”. The official stressed that the “puppeteers” can be “big bosses to "Gazprom" and, maybe above.”

Lukashenko before made ambiguous remarks about interference in Belarusian elections unnamed formidable forces — obviously, non-origin. 1 June, that is after detention of the first rival, he turned to the head of the KGB with a lengthy and abundant metaphors by talking about the desire of certain “wind turbines” to make a “marketplace” on the eve of election day. According to the head of the state, the winds on the Belarusian land is always “coming from different sides”, but now they blow “on the wrong side where I would like”, but Minsk is ready for any shift of the wind.

After thinking about the winds and the puppeteers Russia drew attention to the almost direct charge of the officials of the Corporation in a criminal m��chinatech made on the SCC of Belarus. Official Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that such statements of international companies are unable to be unfounded, and should be supported by arguments. He also recalled that “Belgazprombank” serves the interests of the Russian side.

the Interests of Russian companies, especially our economic giants, of course, are always under the protection of the Russian state. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Crimlaw statements about the involvement of the leadership of “Gazprom” to the case against Babariko

However, according to the press Secretary of the President of Russia, Moscow considers the detention of Babariko internal matter, and assessments of the election campaign will refrain until official conclusions of the international observers. In addition, personal talks with Lukashenko held and the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The parties agreed to meet in Moscow to discuss economic issues, the essence of which was not disclosed.

Disputes on economic issues between Moscow and Minsk continue from the end of 2018. The stumbling block was the price of oil and gas — due to the tax maneuver in the Russian oil industry, the energy began to arrive in Belarus at global prices. Russia insists that the issue of discounts can be viewed only after further integration in the framework of the Treaty on the Union state, which was signed 20 years ago. In Minsk has taken a principled stand — first, discounts, then integration. Lukashenko has repeatedly pointed out that it is not going to sacrifice the sovereignty of their country, although a Federal state involves first the integration of the economic. While oil and gas delivered to Belarus on temporary contracts, the final agreement had to be reached by the end of 2019, but the debate lasts until now.

Became interested in the case of Belgazprombank and the European Union. In day of detention of Babariko June 18, the foreign Ministry of Belarus summoned all the ambassadors of the EU countries. Media quoted sources reported that the meeting was attended by the head of the KGC Ivan Tertel. The participants were not given reviews, but judging by the statement of the Foreign service of the EU of 19 June, the representatives of the Western countries failed to convince the full impartiality of the Belarusian justice. Brussels insists on an objective investigation of the case of Belgazprombank, and the immediate release of all opponents of Lukashenko, calling the Belarusian authorities “ensure full respect for the rule of law, including fair and transparent investigation and the right to access to a lawyer”.

Disappointing statistics

The stage of collecting signatures in the presidential race is now officially over. CEC is now until July 14, will test courtesy of Danand probably to weed out false signatures, and possible presidential candidates — try to challenge these decisions.

The headquarters of Babariko before his arrest managed to take about 150 thousand signatures of the claimed 426 thousand. Lukashenko handed over 364 thousand of the announced 1.5 million — the figure is colossal compared to the rest. Thus, according to the Director of the Institute of sociology of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Gennady Korshunov, the level of confidence in the President in the capital has been very low — less than 30 percent.

of 24%

was the official rating of trust Lukashenka in Minsk in March-April, i.e. before and in the midst of a pandemic of mers. Sociologists will conduct a new study

Sociologists stressed that data were collected in March and April and they need to be updated. “We are trying to start a new study. Because the previous one finished just in a very risky period — I mean the coronavirus,” said Korshunov. Obviously, the Director of the Institute had in mind the period when Belarus was actively spread information about infectious overcrowded hospitals and the manipulation of statistics, and the citizens petitioned the who to immediately enter quarantine. The organization has sent to Minsk their mission, and then repeatedly insisted to introduce measures, however, Lukashenko has refused, motivating it with unwillingness to damage the economy.

Previously appeared rumors that the rating of the incumbent President and is kept in about three percent, these figures, however, later denied.

By the evening of June 19 on the streets of Minsk and other cities of Belarus, for example, Orsha, Lida and Bobruisk, again began to form human chains in support of the detained Lukashenka’s opponents and their supporters. Protests are coordinated by supporters Tikhanovski Telegram-channel “Razam!”, where once the blogger published his anti-corruption investigation in the framework of the project “Country for life”. Now it is used to inform voters.

Official accounts Babariko no appeals, but he actually commented on in advance the events surrounding his arrest in an interview with RBC, citing “a wonderful book” “the revolt of the masses”.

No dictator, even the blood can not keep the majority. And the truth is that (…) the electoral majority all these 26 years, was the functioning authority. But here is a situation when less than 50 percent (support power), you’re not done. And I think that we already collect more than 50 percent. Victor Babariko the chances to win elections of the President of Belarus

The team of Babariko continues to work and made a new decisive move in the struggle for power — has announced a gathering of the initiative group for holding the Republican referendum on the return of the original edition The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 1994. The answer Lukashenko to his opponents, who, even being in prison, not going to give up, remains to be seen. And participants of protest actions in Minsk has reported that in the center of the capital, tightening the police machinery, block Parking and the main street, there were problems with the mobile Internet, and then began and detention. Obviously, the President intends to fulfill his repeated promises to act as tough.